LAKEWOOD — Columbine football’s rushing attack hasn’t changed much over the years under long-time coach Andy Lowry.
The Rebels relentless and punishing ground attack plowed the way to a 38-14 victory over Jeffco rival Thursday at Jeffco Stadium. Columbine (2-1 record), ranked No. 4 in the latest CHSAANow.com Class 5A football poll, had five rushing touchdowns while putting up 311 yards on the ground.
“It all starts up front for us,” Lowry said of the Rebels’ offensive line.
Senior Mikey Griebel, who has moved from tailback to quarterback this season, showed he still has the moves that made him one of the most dynamic offensive players in the state as a junior. Griebel rushed for a pair of short touchdowns in the first quarter to give the Rebels a 14-0 lead.
“It’s a little different, but with the quarterback in this offense it’s like a fourth running back,” Griebel said of returning to the quarterback position where he played as a freshman at Heritage High School. “I’ve got to give the credit to the offensive line tonight. They hustled and blew off the ball tonight. It was fun to see that.”
Griebel’s third touchdown run of 16 yards extended Columbine’s lead to 38-7 with 4 minutes, 29 seconds left in the third quarter. Griebel finished with seven carries for 87 yards and also completed a 37-yard pass to senior Buck Ramming in the first quarter.
Columbine’s running back brother combination of Tim and Ted Mullin combined for 20 carries, 117 yards and two touchdowns.
“Timmy is a hard-nosed kid,” Griebel said of the older Mullin brother who finished with a team-high 15 carries for 95 yards from his fullback position. “He will run through a wall for us.”
Junior Conner Snow added to the Rebels’ stable of running backs. He opened with a 44-yard run and finished with 90 yards just five carries.
The defensive highlights for Columbine was a pair of interceptions by junior Andrew Arterburn. The Rebels were able to convert both turnovers into touchdowns.
“I saw my teammates make the play on both interceptions,” Arterburn said. “The ball just came to me. It was the front four that did a lot of it.”
Bear Creek senior quarterback Walker Rumsey was able to create some exciting plays on the night. The Bears’ first touchdown came on a play where Rumsey scrambled away from several Rebel defenders before finding senior Dominic Encinas in the end zone late in the first half.
Bear Creek senior running back Andre Renteria had more than 100 yards rushing and scored the Bears second touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to make the final score 38-14.
Every win is precious for Columbine this season. The Rebels are in arguably the toughest 5A conference in the new waterfall format. The Mt. Cameron League features three teams currently in the top-10 rankings — Mullen, Columbine and Fairview.
Grabbing non-league victories will be critical for the Rebels when it comes to grabbing enough RPI points to make the 16-team 5A state tournament in case Columbine doesn’t win its conference and automatic bid to the big dance.
Next up for the Rebels is area rival and undefeated Chatfield, ranked No. 1 in the 4A poll. The showdown against the two south-Jeffco schools is next Thursday at Jeffco Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“We’ll think about (Chatfield) on Saturday. We’ll enjoy this a little bit,” Lowry said about looking ahead to the Chargers. “They are playing great right now. We’ll see what happens. It’s about getting better every single day and game.”
Griebel had nearly 100 yards rushing against Chatfield last year in a 31-7 victory, but wasn’t able to get into the end zone against the Chargers.
“We aren’t going to they lightly for sure,” Griebel said. “They are a very, very good football team.”
Columbine has one final non-league game against Denver East on Sept. 29 at Jeffco Stadium before back-to-back conference road games against Fairview (Oct. 6) and Mullen (Oct. 13).
Bear Creek (0-3) attempts to get its first victory of the season during its homecoming game Friday, Sept. 23, at Jeffco Stadium. The Bears face Fossil Ridge in a scheduled 7:30 p.m. kickoff.